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Vacations are an excellent opportunity to broaden our horizons and explore more of the big beautiful world. When we visit places that are wildly different from our own home, it may be strange at first and difficult to adjust to, but once you get past that initial hesitance, you’ll realize that the best way to enjoy your holiday is to allow yourself to be fully immersed in the country’s culture. You’ll feel far more cultured and you may even discover something you never even knew you would enjoy. Vacations are a chance to try new things and what better place to start than a country where everything feels new. If you want to try it out for yourself, here are some tips on how to immerse yourself in the local culture while you’re abroad.

Food

One of the most exciting way to introduce yourself to a different culture is by trying its cuisine. Whilst many cultures offer more extreme dishes like fried bugs or escargot, if you’re worried you may not have the stomach for them then there are always more tame options that offer up a delicious alternative to foods you may be used to. You may discover a new favourite dish that you can even cook yourself to impress your friends and family with. The world is full of flavour, you only need to step outside your comfort zone to find it.

Language

One of the best ways to understand a new culture is by interacting with the locals. If you want to impress them, why not try and learn some of their local languages. Even if you aren’t fluent they’ll appreciate the effort and may even offer you a drink or something on the house. If you’re unsure of where to start with learning a new language, check out ponly for some great conversation starters that will get you talking in no time. Having some basic knowledge of the language may also help if you find yourself lost or if you’re looking for something specific.

Avoid Tourist Traps

One of the biggest mistakes travellers hoping to soak up in a new culture can make is by feeding into tourist traps. When you go to a popular tourist destination you’ll probably find lines upon lines of shops selling the same trinkets for wild prices. Whilst they may look appealing and rare initially, once you see the same bottle opener in the 4th shop in a row, you may start to think it may not be as worthwhile as you initially thought. Instead, look for shops that sell things you won’t find on every strip. Instead of filling your suitcase with mass-produced touristy garbage, you may discover actual artists that can give you one of a kind souvenirs that you will actually want to treasure.

Explore

When you’re abroad, it can be exciting to go off the beaten track. Bouncing off the last point, if you explore your chosen destination, you may discover hidden opportunities or spots. Why not look on sites like Groupon to see if there are any vouchers for some awesome activities in your chosen destination. You may end up doing something you never would have done before. If you ask some of the locals, they might be able to tell you some of their favourite restaurants. They will almost definitely be different from the garishly patriotic restaurants sporting the ‘real and authentic’ slogan – which more often than not are designed to trick tourists into believing they’re getting the most accurate cultural experience when in reality they’re most likely just getting ripped off.

Do Your Research

If you want to get the truest cultural experience, it’s worth doing your research before you go. Look into the destination’s history and traditions and you can co-ordinate your trip around that. Many countries have events at certain times of the year, such as festivals or parades. There is no better chance to get a feel for the place’s culture than by witnessing it for yourself. By researching online, you may even discover places you can visit that maybe aren’t as well known. You may end up saving money and have a far richer experience if you allow yourself to step away from the places claiming to be authentic and discover the country’s authenticity for yourself.

Jayden Dunn

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